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The Type 97 ShinhoTo Chi-Ha was a Japanesemedium tank used in World War II that was an upgrade to the original Type 97 Chi-Ha. The new version was designated Type 97-Kai ("improved") or Shinhoto Chi-Ha ("new turret" Chi-Ha). This design was probably the best tank Japan produced in any large quantity up to 1945.
Japanese Army observers had watched tank developments in Europe and studied as avidly as any European military the operational experiences gained by German, Soviet, and Italian tanks in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). In order to improve the anti-tank capability of the Type 97 Chi-Ha, a new enlarged three-man turret armed with a high-velocity 47 mm gun was combined with the Chi-Ha's hull; hence the new name Kai ("improved") or ShinHoTo ("new turret"). In 1942, it replaced the original model Type 97 in production. In addition "about 300" of the Type 97 tanks with the older model turret and 57 mm main gun were converted.